The Uttar Pradesh government has told officials to seek clarifications from media organisations if they publish “false news items” tarnishing the image of the administration, The Indian Express reported on Friday.

Sanjay Prasad, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Adityanath, issued the directive in a letter to all divisional commissioners and district magistrates on August 16.

“If it is found that any newspaper/media has tried to tarnish the image of the state government or the district administration by publishing negative news items based on distorted or inaccurate facts, the district magistrate concerned will seek clarification from the manager of the media group/newspaper,” the letter read.

The letter noted that the state department of information collects information about “negative news” published in the media. It said that it was necessary to check facts in connection with such news items as they tarnish the image of the government, according to PTI.

“Upon receiving information from district officials about such new items, these will be registered on the IGRS [Integrated Grievance Redressal System of the state government] and will be forwarded to concerned divisional commissioners, district magistrates, and heads of the departments for a probe,” the principal secretary wrote. “Interim reports will not be accepted.”

The official said that district magistrates need to upload weekly reports on the IGRS portal about such reports and details of rejoinders issued in response to them. The director of the department of information and public relations has been asked to send weekly reports about such news items to the principal secretary of information and public relations.